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 Post subject: Noob - Linux Headless Server Advice
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:20 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Australia
Hi all,

I have been reading madly for about a week and would like some advice on a proposed system

System Usage
Small Office/Home Server Appliance on 24/7. It will be used for the following:-
    Email (IMAP - Webmail - Fetchmail Collection)
    Webserver (Host 1 domain, Backup 3 Domains, Website Development/Testing)
    Print Server
    Web Content Filtering
    Media Server (Video using Twonkyvision & Music using Squeezecenter)
    Fax Server (Still thinking about this one)
    File Server (Common shared directories)
    Rsync to backup Websites from hosted Webserver location
    Virus checking of files from web (ClamAV)
    Possible VPN (If I can figure it out)
BTW - Linux software is Clarkconnect. This system will replace our current very noisy ShuttleX box used as a server and a Infrant NV (Netgear NV) NAS as well as a Synology DS207+ NAS. All run 24/7.

Build Criteria
    Quiet (Sits about 1-2 metres from us in the office)
    Power Efficient

    Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H or Foxconn A7GM-S-2.0
    Antec Mini P180
    Nexus Value 430 Watt High-Efficiency Power Supply
    System Disks:- 2 X WD1600BEVT Scorpio Blue Drives (Mirrored)
    Media Disks:- 4 X WD15EADS Caviar Green Drives (Raid 5)
    2 X 2 GB DDR2 800 Ram
    AMD Athlon X2 4850e (45 Watt TPD) Processor
    Intel Pro/1000 MT Gigabit Desktop PCI Network Card
    PCI 56K Dial Up V90 V92 Fax Voice Modem Internal Card

I have not made my mind up about the motherboard as yet and would appreciate any feedback on which is the better choice for the build. Also I have indicated that I will have 6 hard drives so both of these motherboards have 6 SATA ports on them. Add any additional drives to the computer will probably be done via the path of a SATA port multiplier rather than an additional SATA card into the PC.

serialata . org / portmultiplier.asp

My plan was to suspend the 2 X 2.5 drives in the bottom of the Mini P180 Case in front of the power supply in the area for the optical drives. I would then try and suspend the 4 X 1.5 TB drives in the drive cages if possible - not sure if that is able to be done. That would leave me the top area of the case for future expansion. Actually by placing the 2.5" drives up in the top of the case from the start and having the bottom of the case for expansion would be a better option. Is there enough space up there for this?

My purpose in the two arrays is to have aggressive drive shut-down parameters set for the 3.5" drives to save power whilst the system continues to work off the low powered 2.5" drives.

I have not included a replacement heat sink for the processor as I was looking for suggestions. I was thinking about a Noctua NH-U12P CPU Cooler (Silent but not passive) but perhaps overkill - Passive would be better.

This machine will be idle for a lot of time but web filtering needs a bit of horsepower as does serving dynamic web pages hence the processor chosen.

I do have a 200W Pico PSU but I am concerned about the startup requirements hence the larger PSU. I know it can not compete on the noise front.

Any feedback appreciated very much.

All the best


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:55 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:28 am
Posts: 23
Location: US
You've selected a lot of quality parts that certainly seem to meet the requirements. The biggest thing that I can see might be a problem is the "expandability" of the system. The Mini P180 case is MicroATX with only 5 base HDD slots. All of the suspension trouble you're going through could be avoided if you went with a P182, at only a couple inches of extra height and depth, and an ATX case/board would greatly improve your expansion and future upgrade options. Even with that number of HDDs, the case itself should be good at damping the noise of hard-mounting. Those are very quiet drives, and the mounts are all rubberized in the P182.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:55 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:20 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Australia
The balance between expandability and size is important for me. I can't fit the bigger case where I want to put the server - also like the look of the Mini P180 :lol: .

I think that I should be able to mount two 2.5 drives in the top area of the case using a suspension technique and by placing some spacers between the two drives to create a gap for air.

This will leave me with the 5 drive spaces in the main area and I should be able to again suspend two drives in the bottom of the case if ever needed. That makes a total of 7 possible drives = 6 X 1.5 = 9 TB (roughly with Raid 5) Surely that is enough storage :shock: . I am currently only using 68% of my current 4 X 1.5 TB NAS. I suppose the real dilemma here is price -v- performance. The 1TB WD drives do use less power than their larger siblings but the 1.5 TB is the sweeter spot for buying while the 2 TB is just out of it price wise, though it uses the same power as the 1.5 TB.

I have settled on a Thermalright HR-01 Plus for my CPU cooling. Run passively.

I am still not sure on the motherboard. The Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2 has been rated here as one of the most power efficient systems when used with the AMD 4850e processor - but the Foxconn A7GM-S-2.0 still is appealing. I can always use it in a HTPC in the future if need be.

No this is about noise so the Gigabyte should be the choice as it will use less power hence less noise (I think).

I got a real shock yesterday when I put the power meter across my server and NAS Units. Pulling a consistent 202 watts. And that is with the hard drives powered down in both NAS units. I started this project due to noise but it may have some financial benefits in the long term. I wonder what my Fax machine pulls while sitting idle?

So my new questions

Does anyone have any figures on the Foxconn A7GM-S-2.0?

Will I need additional fans in the Mini P180 to deal with 5 hard drives in the drive cages?

Are the drive cages in the Mini P180 sufficient to quieten the WD Green drives or is there a better mounting solution out there?

All the best


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